Tír na nÓg – Sonny and Leo

Before throwing you head first into the dark masterpiece of tomorrow’s album of the month, how about something far gentler? Yet in its own way, quite heavy. Out of Ireland, comes the Dubliner duo Tír na nÓg. Taking their name appropriately enough from the Otherworldly (Land of Eternal Youth), heavenly place of Irish folklore, this acoustic guitar duo lead by Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell used a hugely intricate guitar style to conjure up an uniquely ethereal progressive folk sound. Intertwining harmonies and guitar melodies isn’t anything new, but the way they did it was.

Tír na nÓg album cover.

Sonny Condell was the classically-influenced guitarist who preferred measured tempos and melodies, Leo O’Kelly preferred darker sounds from the likes the Velvet Underground, the Doors etc. together though they approximated a sound that was similar to Nick Drake’s, the Incredible String Band, Pentangle, and other fusion-minded acoustic guitar artists. With them, you could hear the first strains of Celtic folk-rock. The songs I’ll highlight today from their self-titled debut are subtle bits of genius. They’ll never rock your minds out, but the melodies paint something you hardly get as perfectly anywhere else, the sights, sounds, and airs of ole Hibernia. I’m not even linking them via the Youtubes here, but the last two songs “Picadilly” and “Dante” especially bring some special Celtic feeling, you could say its the light to tomorrow’s dark…

Listen to Mariner Blues at Grooveshark.

Bonus track, a live performance of the opening track from this album “Time is Like a Promise”, another intricate pastorale:

Listen to the album at Grooveshark.